Two Wheels Risk

A Motorcyclist's Woe

The Raya holiday is just over and the Deepavali holidays has just started. The 'balik kampung' keeps building up as Christmas comes around the corner. We hear the authorities increasing their 'enforcement' activities be it the Police or the Road Transport Department. But the statistics of accidents are not becoming less and less. Most of the fatalities involve the poor motorcyclists. Recently a young friend of mine was involved in a hit and run accident. His name was Augustine Adit, 19 years old of age. He almost bled to death if not for the passing motorists who rushed him to the Sarawak General Hospital.

Augustine's Mum taking care of him in the hospital

I dropped by at the Sarawak General Hospital to find out how he was. I could not bear to see what this young kid was going through. The right leg was broken in more than three places and his knee cap was crushed. His right hand's wrist was broken and the bed was red with blood. He was on blood drip.

I know its hard for road users to understand what risks one has to take when they choose to use the motorbike as a mode of transport. Those driving the car or larger vehicles need to understand the motocylist's perspective. I know my wife keeps complaining how some motorcyclists ride as if they own the road. Being a two wheeler myself during my earlier years as an undergraduate I understand what goes in a motorcyclist's head. I went through that again when I had to look for another mode of transport after I was involved in a small accident months back accident. My car was in the 'dock' for a few weeks. Yup... the mechanic had promised that the car would be repaired within two to three days. Yeah rite....his two to three days must have been the Planet Uranus's time.

When a mechanic says they can repair your car in three days, it means three weeks

Though I could get another car from my cousin but I wanted to experience those two wheelies so that I can see how motorcycle friendly Kuching road was. When I studied in Pulau Pinang, I can say that during that time, the motorcyclists owned the road. This would be my first in Kuching. Not that I would expect anything different but you never know. With the fuel price racing upwards nowadays, I was looking for another vehicle that could reduce the pain of burning the ringgit per kilometre. Public transport in Kuching like the bus is still way below par for its City status.

The Two Wheel Experience


My mode of transport for two weeks was the Kriss which is owned by Apaiumbart, my colleague - the ratio of my body size to the size of the bike looks pretty fragile at first. Here I was wearing a batik and carrying my notebook - it needed some balancing skills at first but if you are not used to it, better don't carry too many things


There has been some improvement o nthe motorcyle's 'dashboard'. The last time I used a bike about twenty years ago, it was just plain the speedometer. Now you must be a qualified Angkasawan to ride this baby


The rear mirror is the most important instrument for a motorcylist - it can be a lifesaver. If you see a large lorry or bus coming up from behind try to be extra careful. If its coming in like 100km per hour or more, just slow down and let it pass you by


Try not be adventurous or impatient especially at the traffic lights. I came across many motorcyclists who acted as if the traffic lights do not exist. They go before the light turns green or speed up when the light turns orange. Its as if their behaviour is affected by the light.

The motorcyle lane - this is a plus point for Kuching roads - our town and road planners have the motorcylists' needs in their mind. However not all the roads are allocated these lanes.


Motorcylists are subjected to the toll at the Tanah Puteh toll bridge. Its a new experience - so try to wait patiently in the long queue as only one lane is dedicated to motorcyclists

Advantages

There are many plus points when using this small bike. The first one is of course the flexibility it has on the road - especially if you are caught in a traffic jam. Weaving through the road with the skill of a ice skater is a much needed skill.


The advantage a motorcyclist has during busy traffic is its maneuverability - where the cars get stuck in the jam, the motorcycle can jump the queue and use the other lane - but that is advisable only if the other side is clear


RM4 - RM5 for a full tank and RM10 can last a week or more. It can help you save up for the next round of beer?

Disadvantages (& Risks)

However there are many disadvantages to using the motorcycle. I had listed so many of them that by the second week of using it my wife had banned me from riding the bike. Luckily my car was completely repaired (after much pestering) by that time. Amongst the prominent ones in my list are:

  • The weather (heavy rain will really spoil a motorcyclist's day and increase the risk of accidents as vision will be impaired)
  • Unseen potholes at night (those potholes the size of a manhole especially at night when you don't see it coming or its unavoidable)
  • Insects and other creatures (try riding a motorbike at 80 km per hour into a swarm of mosquitoes and flies. If you do not have a full face visor it can be blinding. Sometimes the dogs and cats that cross the road to commit suicide can pose a hazard as the impact can still send you flying onto the road)
  • Drunk drivers and motorcyclists (the majority of drivers that can be found driving on the road after 2 a.m in the morning belong to these pub hopping group)
  • ecetra ecetra - actually there are many more in my list but alas I don't think it will help anyone as we see them on television most of the time.

When riding a bike, make sure you fully concentrate on the road and vehicles in front of you, lest you will hit something unpleasant.

Sometimes motorcylists claim to enjoy free air condition with the free air flow they get - it really depends. The vehicle above not only provided some unusual aroma but the 'missiles' from the swinging and bouncing lorry are 'risky' too


In summary, I would say that if anyone wishes to use the two wheelie as an alternative transport, take all the necessary precautions. They have to have that extra sixth sense to increase their chance of survival. On top of that there is an extra need for the road users of both mode of transport to understand one another - be it the drivers behind the car, lorries or bus or the motorcyclists. But all of us know that I guess so I will spare the bla bla blabbering. But why do the statistics show otherwise?

Recc (with cap) poses with Augustine

Augustine is already up and about now but he needs some aid in moving about. The last visit by the rumapanjai.com community forum members saw him in high spirit. I wish him all the best and pray for his speedy recovery.

Comments

If the prices of petrol is going to increase significantly, I will have to take the bike!

It is still the cheapest and the most convenient way for transportation.
apaiumbart said…
hhahaha.. ukai modenaz lah boss.. honda wave..
Uchu Keling said…
Finally that left door get its metal surgery.
Fredy said…
totally agree with the side mirror. It really can save your life. More tips: Use your ears to listen to the traffic. Always know every vehicle location behind you, so that you can reacts to it passing you.

and rain + night = disaster. :(
Borneoguy.com said…
"the dogs and cats that cross the road to commit suicide"

LOLOLOL I like this quote hahahahhaa